Judge awards ex-EACC boss Sh10.2m for illegal sacking


The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission offices in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Employment and Labour Relations Court has awarded former acting Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) chief executive Jane Wanja Muthaura Sh10.2 million for unlawful and unfair termination of her contract eight years ago.

Justice James Rika made the judgment following a finding that Ms Muthaura was not only subjected to a humiliating demotion before being fired but was also sacked without any allegations or a letter to show cause.

Also, during the termination of her contract in March 2013, there were neither charges nor disciplinary hearings and findings of any misconduct.

The judge also dismissed the EACC’s claim for a refund of Sh3 million from Ms Muthaura, which was paid to her as special duty allowances when she was the acting CEO.

At the time, the commission was transitioning from the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission to the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission.

Treasury PS appointer her as an accounting officer in the financial year 2011/12 and reappointed on in July 2012 for 2012/13.

The court found that although the Auditor- General Report for the year ended June 2013 flagged the allowance as irregular, the EACC through its senior human resources officer Mohammed Doo had on February 1, 2012, written to Ms Muthaura advising that she was entitled to acting and special duty allowances under the Governance Manual.

Ms Muthaura was acting CEO, acting coordinator finance and administration and substantively principal officer finance and administration as of September 27, 2012, when Irene Keino and Prof Jane Onsongo were appointed as new commissioners.

Immediately they assumed office, the two commissioners stripped Ms Muthaura of the role of coordinator and handed it over to Paul Wambua, who substantively was an accountant under her.

“This was not only irrational but humiliating to Ms Muthaura, to be placed under an officer junior to her, from the lofty position of acting CEO and Coordinator — finance and administration,” said the judge.

The demotion took place on October 1, 2012, on the new Commissioners’ second working day. She was then advised that she had received illegal allowances.

The allowances were stopped and a new acting CEO was appointed on December 11, 2012.

Justice Rika said the hasty replacement of Ms Muthaura was illegal, because on December 3, 2012, the court had directed that she be sworn in as the Acting CEO, in accordance with the Constitution.

"The Commissioners disregarded the court order, and appointed their own Acting CEO Abdi Ahmed Mohamud. Mohamud acted for about one month. The substantive CEO was appointed on January 21, 2013, and terminated Ms Muthaura's contract on March 28 samenyear, " said the judge.